good mojo, please.

I had another doozy of a day today. Work felt so overwhelming that by lunch time I was ready to cry. But then slowly, things turned around. I got a surprise visit from my sister who brought me a diet coke and a ginger cookie. We laughed so loudly I finally had to kick her out so that I could hold it together enough to finish out my work day. After work I went to the gym. I wasn't feeling my normal 5:30pm spinning class so I walked on the treadmill with the latest issue of InStyle magazine. All the while I got to thinking: "I feel fine. I feel good actually. Let's keep this up!"

Here's how I plan on keeping the good mojo flowin':

1. Focus on the micro, not the macro. This may seem counter intuitive when having a meltdown over an Excel spreadsheet of event attendees or when ridiculously overwhelmed by a three page to-do list. But I tend to be a worrier (M would feign surprise right now) and whenever I'm feeling anxious about one thing my thought process usually goes like this: "Oh my gosh, I can NOT get this printer to work. I'll probably end up having to work in an office for the rest of my life. I want to go freelance but then I won't have money for my kid's college. Man, I really should start investing in a Roth IRA.... ugh, I think I'm getting sick. That bump on my shin is probably NOT from running into the coffee table last night. With my luck, it's probably cancerous. I wonder if I should make a doctor's appointment..." Well, you get the idea! By focusing on the micro, my ONE task, I can be more productive than were I to continue down that rabbit hole of anxiety. By focusing on the micro, the way I feel RIGHT now, instead of worrying about my 10 year career goals I can ensure that I keep feeling well enough to eventually accomplish those goals.

2. Think like you're in college. I must preface this by saying that I was definitely not the life of the party in college. In fact, I didn't drink at all. But when I was in college, I remember feeling like the world really was my oyster. I invested time in researching Latina/o studies and planning events to raise awareness about Violence Against Women. I was bold and motivated and passionate. And it didn't seem like anyone or anything wanted to stop me. So often when we get to the "real world" we forget what it's like to explore our options and believe that anything is possible.

3. On that note, Live like you're in college. In college I took social risks, attended lectures on a myriad of topics, danced salsa at the Canopy Club and took kickboxing classes at the gym, all because I could. While working full time post college, it's easy to overlook hobbies and forgo leisure for all of the "shoulds." That's a dangerous route though, because how else will we determine our life's direction if we don't nurture our life's passions?

4. Embrace your inner single lady. Now that I have a live-in bf I don't have a ton of alone time. Since M is in class on Monday nights and working late Wednesdays, I dedicate one or both of those nights to living it up, single girl style. I eat popcorn or cereal for dinner, watch trashy tv shows, paint my nails over and over again until I decide on a color and sit around with my hair a mess and my face makeup free. It's not that I couldn't do those things around M; in fact, I have. It's just that there's something so luxurious about really letting my hair down on my nights alone.

5. Talk it out, work it out. The first things that usually go when I'm stressed are social time and working out. Well no wonder I'm so stressed out! I went out with one of my best friends last night and came home feeling a million times better. I cooked dinner and nuggsed with M while reading a good book. All was well. The same goes for working out. Afterwards I have this feeling of accomplishment that is totally different from the feeling I get after crossing items off a to-do list at work. I plan on penciling in workouts and social time at the beginning of the week so that they don't get lost under a pile of to-do's.

6. Treat yourself like a free agent. I have a confession. I don't DO regular employment. I have an awfully hard time having a boss (even one as amazing as my boss now) and I struggle daily at sitting at a desk all day when there's so much happening on the outside. And while I appreciate the perks of steady employment: hello consistent paychecks, benefits galore and scheduled raises, a part of me knows deep down it's all temporary. In order to keep my chin up while "working for the man" I treat myself like a free agent. I imagine my work to be contract and the money I receive as fair compensation for the employment of my small business (myself!). By looking at it that way, I'm no longer paid for hours spent at a desk, but compensated for a specific job, or event. I also tell myself daily that this job is enabling me to pay off my car loan and save money for the day when I'm finally ready to open Laura Jean Kathleen Enterprises (in M's words!).

Here's hoping that these little strategies will help me feel better while at work. It can't hurt to try!



red flag, moving on.

I've been feeling a bit OFF lately. It's not a guilty feeling, or an afraid feeling, or an unhappy feeling (although I suppose I would feel those things were this imbalanced feeling to continue). It's just a little voice I've been hearing that says, "Something isn't right here."

And then there's the chocolate. The bag AND A HALF of Dove chocolate that I've gone through in just one week. One week!

I called my little sister today. As in, my personal guru, my life coach, my supplier of good energies. She said, "I'm definitely sensing that something is off. You've definitely been more stressed out since starting your new job." That's an understatement! Still, it calmed me that she could see it too. M keeps telling me, "Give the new job time." It's been a month since I started but something is just plain OFF.

And then, I went to the doctor today. The nurse weighed me and while normally I turn my back to the scale this time I looked. I'm up three pounds. In one month. And three pounds is a lot on my normally small frame. My first inclination was to blame the aforementioned chocolate. I wanted to chalk it up to PMS or poor eating habits or not making it to the gym as normally as I like to. But having recovered (mostly) from a ten year eating disorder I know any fluctuation from my "happy weight" to be a red flag. So I consulted the Bible. Well, the Bible for recovered disordered eaters, Intuitive Eating. Here's what Evelyn and Elyse had to say (and yes we're on a first name basis. I consider them within my circle of soul friends):

You may go a long time without using food to cope, when all of a sudden emotional eating catches you by surprise. If this occurs, it's not a sign of failure or that you've lost ground; instead it's a strange gift. Overeating [or under-eating!] is simply a sign that stresses in your life at that moment surpass the coping mechanisms that you have developed . . . Overeating can also recur when your lifestyle becomes unbalanced with too many responsibilities and obligations, with too little time for pleasure and relaxation. Consequently, food is used to indulge, escape and relax (albeit briefly). In both of these situations we've described, overeating becomes a red flag that lets you know that something isn't right in your life. Once you truly appreciate this, eating will not feel out of control -- rather it's an early warning system (162).

See! They know their stuff. The truth is, my new job is stressful. As in, sometimes I go to the lesser used stairwell in the museum just to soak up the quiet in a place that is never without commotion. As in, at the end of the day I'm nearly catatonic from being "on" for 10 hours straight. As in, that one time last week when I was running around in a LBD and high heels managing a team of 30 and setting up an event for 500. Yes, that was me, the girl with a walkie talkie stealing a bacon wrapped date off of the server's tray before the VIP's arrived. Don't get me wrong, I love the events, the excitement, the drama. But there's a little TOO much of it. All of it. Last week I worked 45 hours, when I'm only salaried for 30. And while I try to make up for my time by taking long weekends I feel like I can never quite catch up. And then there are the days that I answer emails. All. Morning. Long. I never knew event planning required so much correspondence, even from people who are just two offices over from mine.

All of this is not to say that I regret taking the job. Or that I don't feel grateful every single day for this opportunity. But something's got to give. The chocolate. The three pounds. I don't want them.

I used to think weight was just fat, excess calories, sugar, whatever. Now I think of weight as a metaphysical weight. Those 3 pounds don't just come from chocolate, rather they are the physical representation of worries that aren't addressed, stress that I can't leave at work, feelings of unworthiness and fears that I'm not doing what God put me on this earth to do. (I miss speaking Spanish and reading and cooking and just BEING, for Pete's sake!)

After reading Geneen Roth's book Women, Food and God I practically forced it into my mother's hands. She read the first half and proclaimed, "I don't get it. It's a bunch of women crying into pieces of chocolate cake. Why do they have to be so dramatic about food?"

The thing is, for those of us recovering from disordered eating, food is the manifestation of our feelings about ourselves and the world around us. It's the way I used to measure my daily success or failure rate and it's still the way I can tell when something's off. And what a blessing that is.

I'm still not sure what to do about work, although I do have some ideas. I'd like to maybe go in to work later, "paying" myself first by taking time for my own pursuits in the early morning hours. A part of me isn't ready to sacrifice my personal commitments to work ones, and I don't think I should have to. But something does have to give. Thanks to my early warning signals, the physical and metaphysical weight gain, I'm now prepared to figure it all out, before I reach for the chocolate.



(Late night) Talks w/ M.

I feel like this scene from last night says a lot about my relationship with M.

11:45pm, M crawls into bed. I wake up. We start talking about his night with one of his guy friends.

M: "Yeah, I hope you don't mind, but we used your bathroom so that we wouldn't wake you up."

I live across the hall from M. He can literally touch both of our doors at the same time by stretching out his arms. It's dumb and a waste of my $375 per month and he actually moved in AFTER we started dating, even though it was in the works BEFORE we started dating. Weird, yes. Moving on.

me: "Oh, okay, that's fine, whatever..."

me: "Was my bathroom even clean? Was the toilet flushed?"

M: "Uh yeah. It was fine. Don't worry about it."

.... 10 minutes later .....

me: (jumping up startled) "Is my toilet running?"

My toilet chain is perpetually broken, no matter how many times I reattach it. I live in an old building where nothing ever gets fully fixed. So sometimes I worry that it will run all night long, wasting tons of water and destroying the earth. That's not to say I'm actually one of those people who recycles, or someone who would turn my nose up at aerosol hairspray. But water, that gets me.

M: "Really? Do you want me to go check? Okay, okay, I'm getting up. I'll go check."

me: (sheepishly) "Thank you!"

M gets up, goes across the hall in his boxers and then walks back to his apartment. As he enters the bedroom I yell:


M: (sigh) "I don't know! Okay, let me check."

M goes back over to my apartment to see that yes, my oven is in fact off. Which is rational seeing as I haven't used it since June. As in, before it got too hot to turn it on in my air conditioning-less apartment. But it's not like anyone can accuse me of being overly rational.

M: "It's off. And your straightener is put away. And everything is fine."

me: "Oh gosh, thank you so much! You know how crazy I am about these things."

I know he gets it because he has his own little quirks, like touching his car door handle to see if it's REALLY locked, even though he's just pressed the locked button and heard it beep.

M comes back to bed and starts nuggsing me.

M: "You know why I love being with you? I know that I'll never die of a fire from a stove left on or drown in my apartment because the toilet's been running all night."

.... 10 minutes go by ....

me: "Oh my gosh, can you really die from a toilet running all night???" (cue internal freak out)

M: "No Laura...this second story apartment is hardly the Titanic."

me: "Oh. Okay, right."

M: "Goodnight Laura"

me: "Goodnight."



white inspiration.

Lately I've been thinking a lot about getting the most bang for your buck while planning a wedding. I used to want a wedding built out of tons of tiny details, hand crafted paper supplies, and DIY everything. Now that I'm a full fledged event planner by trade (hooray for my new job!) I'm beginning to learn how much events actually cost. For example, when ordering food for a ONE HOUR VIP reception for say, 125 people, passed hors d'oeuvres and an open bar of one white wine and one red wine will run you about $1500. Holy Moses. With a guest list the size my parents prepared for my older sisters wedding.. well, the cost goes up substantially. For one. hour. of entertainment. So instead of thinking of millions of minuscule details now I'm looking for low-cost big-impact design ideas. Such as long tables with clean white linens and grey table runners (no centerpieces needed -- just bottles for water and lemonade and a few votives will do). Or a bouquet of baby's breath or white carnations, all bunched together with lambs ear leaves as a way to give former filler flowers more weight. After all, I'd hate for the little things to get in the way of what's most important: spending the day with the people we love. xoxo.


talks w/ M.

Yesterday M and I were driving in the car, talking about our relationship as we often do while driving. (For some reason it's always easier to talk freely when we're not facing each other. And there's something about driving that makes us calm and well, talkative). We were talking about how much the direction of our lives have changed:

M: "I feel like someday I'm just going to wake up and be a husband and father."

me: "Uh huh."

M: "And just the other day, I was sitting there thinking about the last time I ate meat. I haven't had meat yet this week..."

me: "That's great baby... "

M: "It's like someday I'm going to wake up and be a vegetarian."

me: "Uh huh..."

M: "...and honestly, that scares me the most of all."

me (bewildered): "More than the whole husband and father thing?"

M (really seriously): "Definitely."


lived in spaces.

I adore the grey-brown walls in this home's living room, shot by Andrea Hubbell as part of her Living Space tour. This home is warm and welcoming, organized and yet a little lived in too. I also appreciate the low bookshelves in the library area -- it keeps the quantity from being overwhelming, while still showcasing the owner's book collection.


celebration rings.

I love the idea of an evolving engagement or wedding ring. These celebration rings allow you to change your style as you age and can be purchased for any number of milestones throughout life. I also love the mix of gold and silver, antique and modern in both stacks... it's definitely a look I'd like to create for myself.